FSB and mercenaries as forbidden ground? Russian military expert convicted of treason

Vladimir Neyelov. Source: Facebook

A court in St. Petersburg sentenced Vladimir Neyelov, an expert studying the activity of mercenary companies, to 7 years in prison. The 30-year man was accused of treason.

“In exchange for financial remuneration, Neyelov provided a German consulting company with information about the process of training of Russia’s FSB officers,” the court said on Thursday.

The convict pleaded partially guilty. According to Vladimir Neyelov, he never considered such information to be confidential. The criminal case was classified as top secret and the trial was held behind closed doors.


The media reported the arrest of Neyelov, a doctoral student of Saint-Petersburg State University, in the autumn of 2018. At that time, the man was working as an expert at the Centre for Strategic Business Climate, a think tank dealing with security matters. Neyelov specialised in the issues of mercenarism, present-day armed conflicts, and military doctrines.

He was interested in conflicts that broke out in Ukraine, Afghanistan, and former Yugoslavia. The author had his works published articles in the online newspaper Vzglyad which removed them after the arrest. Vladimir Neyelov made comments for various media, including pro-Kremlin agency FAN.

Some publications concerned a Russian paramilitary group which is known as Wagner’s private military company. Officially, mercenary activity is prohibited in Russia.