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SMERSH, “suicide squads” and Nepali Gurkhas in the Russian army

The Russian authorities have decided to reactivate SMERSH, an organisation founded by Joseph Stalin and part of the military counterintelligence, which is now to operate in those parts of Ukraine that have been illegally annexed and are partially controlled by Russian forces. Operating until 1946, SMERSH was a key part of Stalin’s terror apparatus, known for brutality, arrests, torture and executions of thousands of people.

In Russian assault troops intended for the most challenging sections of the front, the so-called suicide squads or STORM-Z released convicts, murderers, rapists, and cannibals are serving. According to information from the American “Newsweek”, the total number of convicts whom President Putin offered a pardon in exchange for six months of service in Ukraine exceeds 100,000 people. Some of the prisoners recruited into the Russian army are retired. STORM-Z units also consist of regular service soldiers subject to disciplinary proceedings.

The Nepalese government has called on Russia to stop sending Gurkhas, Nepali soldiers, to fight on the front lines in Ukraine. Since February 2022, six Gurkhas serving in the Russian army were killed there. The Nepalese are demanding the return of the bodies of the fallen and compensation for their families. According to the Nepali ambassador in Moscow, from 150 to 200 Nepalese have worked as mercenaries in the Russian army since the beginning of the war. The Russian recruitment campaign includes ads promising cash bonuses, phone calls from recruiters, and partnerships with universities and social welfare agencies.

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