Russian President Vladimir Putin recently suggested that the Wagner Group be led by a high-ranking mercenary, Andrei Trosev, who goes by the code name “Sedoy”.
Andrei Trosev is a senior commander of the Wagner group, according to European Union sanctions documents, French official records and Russian media reports. Among his famous associates is Dmitry Utkin, a former special officer of the GRU (Russian military intelligence) and one of the founders of Wagner.
On Telegram’s pro-Wagner channels, Trosev was repeatedly identified with the call sign “Szedoj” and acknowledged as one of the group’s highest-ranking commanders. The Russian newspaper Kommersant quoted Putin as saying that Trosev had effectively led Wagner.
In a 2021 document, the EU mentioned Trosev as “the managing director (chief of staff) of the Wagner group” and also identified him as one of the founding members of the group. The EU further stated that Trosev played an important role in the Wagner Group’s military operations in Syria, particularly in Deir al-Zor, which significantly contributed to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s war success.
Officially, Trosev was born on April 5 in Leningrad (now Saint Petersburg), although there is some discrepancy between Russian sources and Western sanctions documents regarding the year of his birth. He served in the Soviet Union’s war in Afghanistan and later joined the Russian Rapid Reaction Special Forces unit called SZOBR, and after the collapse of the Soviet Union served in the Russian Army in the North Caucasus.
Trosev was twice awarded the Order of the Red Star for his service in Afghanistan and was awarded Russia’s highest honor, the Hero of Russia, for leading the 2016 assault on Islamic State militants in Palmyra, Syria. In 2017, a photo from 2016 showing Putin with Trosev and Utkin appeared in the Russian media.
Cover photo: The soldiers of the Wagner Group leave Rostov-on-Don on June 24, 2023. MTI/EPA/Arkagyi Budnytskyi