Politics & ConflictSavagerie Originals

The sick story behind Wagner group’s sledgehammer obsession

Wagner mercenaries torturing and killing Syrian escaping mandatory conscription with a sledge hammer

The Wagner group is a Russian mercenary company which has been described as putin’s invisible arm. The infamous group is used to pursue Russian military goals without officially involving the Russian army.

The mercenary group has been active across various conflict zones, notably Ukraine and Syria, but they have also been identified in African countries like Sudan, Central African Republic, Libya and Mali. There are numerous accounts of war crimes attributed to the mercenary group and unconfirmed reports have linked the group to assassination attempts against Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelenskyy in the earlier days of the Russian invasion (attempts were thwarted and many mercenaries were put to sleep or captivated).

The group operates a Telegram channel called Reverse Side Of The Medal (RSOTM) where it glorifies its actions and the mercenary lifestyle. The name of their official channel is an indication of how the group sees itself – Behind the Russian “official medals” lies the work of the Wagner group.

The telegram channel heavily features pro Wagner graphics and propaganda, many of which are very gaming-like (you can check out a previous feature we made on the gaming like graphics of the Wagner group here).

A common reference in Wagner group graphics is the sledgehammer, often referred to as the “hammer of retribution”. This features in graphics as well as official patches and group insignia.

“Hammer of retribution” Wagner Group

The sledgehammer refers to a sick incident of Wagner mercenaries who torture a Syrian man named as Muhammad “Hamadi” Abdullah al-Ismai reportedly for fleeing forced conscription to the Syrian army, under the Assad regime. The video shows the Russian mercenaries laughing as they beat Muhammad to a pulp with a huge sledgehammer, breaking his kneecaps and mashing up his hands into a formless mass of skin and bones before pulverising his genitals and eventually beheading him and burning the body.

Wagner graphics featuring a Wagner mercenary holding a sledgehammer

I will not be posting the video here but it has been fact checked and verified as legit – Wagner group channels themselves published the video to promote the idea that this is what happens when you cross Wagner.

Wagner mercenaries torturing and killing Syrian escaping mandatory conscription with a sledge hammer

They are so happy with the shocking response and infamy their video created that the sledgehammer is now part of the group’s official branding. This is a huge indication of the savage culture within the group itself and its lack of modern military discipline or ethos.


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1 Comment

  1. […] Wagner group’s entire online presence gives a good insight into their internal culture of ultra-violence. Their repeated use of the sledgehammer in their graphics/uniform patches and folklore (they refer to it as the hammer of retribution) in itself is a tribute to the violent torture/murder of a Syrian man accused of fleeing his post *. Check out our previous article on that event here. […]

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