Petrozavodsk city Mayor Vladimir Lyubarsky (forth from left in the back) at the Spetsnaz University in Chechnya. Photo: Lyubarsky at VK

Mayor of Karelian capital Petrozavodsk signs up for war in Ukraine

Vladimir Lyubarsky intends to join a Chechen battalion known for its war crimes and extreme brutality in the onslaught on the neighbouring country.
June 19, 2023


Lyubarsky normally heads city affairs in Petrozavodsk, the regional capital located near the border to Finland. His duties will now be followed up by deputies as he signs up as volunteer in the Akhmat battalion, the Russian version of the Barents Observer reports.

“Another short vacation is over, during which I have completed a special course at the Russian Spetsnaz University,” Lyubarsky says on his private social media page.


Vladimir Lyubarsky training for war with Chechen militia. Photo: Lyubarsky at VK


The Spetsnaz University is located in Chechnya and has over the past two decades been developed by regional strongman Ramzan Kadyrov and his militias. It comprises a large military training facility and is extensively used for training of Kadyrov’s armed forces.

“Why does a city manager needs this kind of skills, you probably ask. The answer is simple,” he himself responds.

“The decision that I have taken today has long matured, since the start of the special military operation. Tomorrow I will fly from Grozny to St.Petersburg and by midnight be back home in Petrozavodsk, where I subsequently will hand in my stuff and then return to Gudermes for training as a volunteer for Akhmat.”


In photos shared on VK, the city manager is seen together with a group of fighters in front of photos of Vladimir Putin and the Kadyrov family. He also shares a photo of his course diploma and of a caps with the “Z,” Russia’s Nazi-inspired symbol for its war against Ukraine.

The Akhmat Battalion is considered one of the most brutal units involved in the war. Its warriors are accused of numerous war crimes, including kidnapping, torture and killing. Several videos show Akhmat fighters castrating Ukrainian prisoners of war. The battalion is also accused of numerous cases of rape of women and children.

The training courses offered by the Russian Spetsnaz University costs 135,000 rubles (€1,470) for non-military personnel and 95,000 rubles (€1,030) for representatives of law enforcement authorities, the University informs. It is unknown whether Vladimir Lyubarsky paid for the course himself or the Petrozavodsk budget has generously covered for the city leader.





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