Who is Andrei Troshev, the veteran mercenary that Putin proposed command Wagner?

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Russian President Vladimir Putin said he had proposed to Wagner Group fighters that a senior mercenary known as “Sedoi,” which means “gray hair” in Russian, command them instead of Yevgeny Prigozhin.

Who is he?

“Sedoi” is the nom de guerre of Andrei Troshev, a senior Wagner commander, according to European Union sanctions documents, French official documents, sources with knowledge of the matter and Russian media reports. France’s Treasury describes Troshev’s call sign as “Siedoy.”

His associates include Dmitry Utkin, a former GRU military intelligence special forces officer and a founder of Wagner, the EU said.

Pro-Wagner channels on Telegram have repeatedly said Troshev is known by the call sign “Sedoi” and that he is one of Wagner's most senior commanders.

The Kommersant newspaper quoted Putin as saying that “Sedoi” had been the real commander of Wagner.

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The EU described him as the “executive director (chief of staff) of the Wagner Group” in its 2021 document which also says he was a founding member of the group.

“Andrei Troshev is directly involved in the military operations of the Wagner Group in Syria,” the EU said.

“He was particularly involved in the area of Deir al-Zor. As such, he provides a crucial contribution to (Syrian President) Bashar al-Assad’s war effort and therefore supports and benefits from the Syrian regime.” Britain also described him in its Syria sanctions documents as the chief executive of Wagner.

Troshev was born in Leningrad, the Soviet-era name for St Petersburg, on April 5, 1962, according to Russian sources. Western sanctions documents list his date of birth as April 5, 1953. It is unclear why.

He fought in Afghanistan during the Soviet Union’s decade- long war there. After the fall of the Soviet Union, he served in the North Caucasus with the Russian army and then in SOBR, a quick reaction special forces unit of the Russian interior ministry. He was a commander in the unit.

For his service in Afghanistan, Troshev was awarded the Order of the Red Star twice. He was awarded Russia's highest medal, Hero of Russia, in 2016 for the storming of Palmyra in Syria against ISIS militants.

A photograph surfaced in Russian media in 2017 showing Putin alongside Troshev, Utkin and others. Both men wore several
medals. The photograph is believed to date from 2016.

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