Conflict Crisis Management Defense Policy Intelligence Libya Middle East National Security North Africa Security & Defense Terrorism Weapons Trafficking
Podcast March 23, 2023

Defeating the Wagner Group

By Alia Brahimi

In Season 1, Episode 1 of the Guns for Hire podcast, host Alia Brahimi speaks with the author and former mercenary Dr. Sean McFate about his three-pronged strategy for defeating the Wagner Group. They also discuss internal dynamics within the Kremlin-linked private military company, the dangerously outsized influence of its leader in the war in Ukraine, and Sean’s argument that there’s nothing more unconventional today than a conventional war– and that this is borne out by the way that Russia is fighting in Ukraine.


“There’s this natural schism, between for-profit and not-for-profit warriors. Let’s just widen that schism in the Russian instance.”

Sean McFate, author and former mercenary

Find the Guns For Hire podcast on the app of your choice

About the podcast

The Guns for Hire podcast is a production of the Atlantic Council’s North Africa Initiative. Taking Libya as its starting point, it explores the causes and implications of the growing use of mercenaries in armed conflict.

The podcast features guests from many walks of life, from ethicists and historians to former mercenary fighters. It seeks to understand what the normalisation of contract warfare tells us about the world as we currently find it, but also about the future of the international system and about what war could look like in the coming decades.

Further reading

Through our Rafik Hariri Center for the Middle East and Scowcroft Middle East Security Initiative, the Atlantic Council works with allies and partners in Europe and the wider Middle East to protect US interests, build peace and security, and unlock the human potential of the region.

Image: A man wearing a camouflage uniform walks out of PMC Wagner Centre, which is a project implemented by the businessman and founder of the Wagner private military group Yevgeny Prigozhin, during the official opening of the office block in Saint Petersburg, Russia, November 4, 2022. REUTERS/Igor Russak