A middle-aged Russian man sent to prison for beating his elderly mother to death has been honored as a hero in Russia’s increasingly deranged war dystopia.
Sergei Molodtsov, 46, was killed while waging war against Ukraine as one of the notorious Wagner Group’s newly recruited prison mercenaries. He was buried in Russia’s Sverdlov region with military honors—and received a bizarre tribute from the local administration that described him as a gentle, “creative” soul and made no mention of his crime.
“Relatives remember Sergei as an amazingly special person who loved life. He was an honest man. Truth was the most important thing for him. He always paid heed to others’ misfortune, helped the weak and the needy,” the local administration of the city of Serov said in a statement, calling Molodtsov a “happy-go-lucky guy” who “loved music, freedom, and speed.”
“In loving memory!”
Local officials noted that Molodtsov had been killed in the so-called “special military operation” while “fulfilling his military duty” as part of the Wagner Group, but they left out that he’d been recruited while behind bars on a murder conviction.
Russian soldiers served as pallbearers at his funeral, and military veterans paid tribute to Molodtsov as a patriot and a hero, according to local outlet Yekaterinburg Online.
The head of the local administration confirmed to the outlet that Molodtsov had been serving a prison sentence when he was recruited by Wagner.
“He was serving a sentence for a serious crime, a murderer,” Vasily Sizikov was quoted saying.
Molodtsov was hailed as a “hero” by officials in the same city where a court sentenced him to 11.5 years behind bars in 2017.
The verdict against him notes that while “in a state of intoxication,” he used his hands and feet to deliver “no less than six blows to [his mother’s] head, torso, and limbs.”
After breaking her jaw, smashing her shoulder and her head, he insisted in court that she’d suffered the injuries and died after an accidental fall.