Explained: Who Is Andrey Troshev, Why Russian President Putin Wants Him To Lead Wagner Group?

Andrey Troshev is a founding-member of Wagner Group and Executive Director of Wagner Group. He goes by the call sign Sedoy, which means grey hair.


Russia Wagner Group military

Russian President Vladimir Putin has said a top Wagner Group commander could take over the private military company in place of its current chief Yevgeny Prigozhin.

While Putin only mentioned this commander by his call sign Sedoy, meaning "grey hair", media reports identified him as Andrey Troshev.

The development comes amid uncertainty over the fates of Wagner and Prigozhin. The deal that ended the day-long Wagner revolt said that Prigozhin would go to Belarus and Wagner personnel would be offered Russian defence ministry contracts. There is no clarity whether Prigozhin is in Belarus. 

Putin told a Russian newspaper on Thursday that he suggested ways in which Wagner personnel can continue to operate. These suggestions were made in a meeting held at Moscow on June 29 between Putin and 35 top Wagner commanders, including its boss Prigozhin. 


The CNN reported that Putin suggested that Andrey Troshev, who goes by the call sign Sedoy, could take over Wagner Group.

 “They could have all gathered in one place and continued to serve [under Troshev] and nothing would have changed for them. They would be led by the same person who has been their real commander all along...Many people nodded [affirmatively] when I said that,” said Putin, as per CNN.

Here we profile Troshev and explain what could be the reason for such a proposal.

Who is Wagner Group commander Andrey Troshev?

Andrey Troshev is a founding-member of Wagner Group and Executive Director of Wagner Group. He goes by the call sign Sedoy, which means grey hair.


Troshev is identified as the chief of staff of Wagner Group in Syria, where the private military company supported President Bashar Al-Assad's regime, according to European Union (EU) sanctions documents cited by CNN.

Troshev was born in April 1953 in Leningrad in the former Soviet Union, as per the sanctions documents.

“Andrey Troshev is directly involved in the military operations of the Wagner Group in Syria. He was particularly involved in the area of Deir ez-Zor. As such, he provides a crucial contribution to Bashar al-Assad’s war effort and therefore supports and benefits from the Syrian regime," say the sanctions documents. 

Troshev is a retired colonel of the Russian military and also served in Afghanistan. 

"Grey hair’ is also a former employee of the special rapid response detachment of the Russian Interior Ministry’s Northwestern Federal District, according to Russian online news outlet Fontanka. He is also a veteran of the wars in Chechnya and Afghanistan," reports CNN.

For his service in Afghanistan, Troshev was awarded two Orders of the Red Star, a Soviet Union decoration for exceptional service, and he was also awarded two Orders of Courage and a medal of the Order of Merit for the Fatherland, 2nd degree for service in the operation in Chechnya, according to reports in Russian media. 


Why does Putin want Andrey Troshev to take over Wagner Group?

The simplest explanation is that Putin wants to keep the Wagner Group as a fighting force but not under Prigozhin who has displayed his ability to undermine his authority -- even if indirectly. 

The Wagner Group is a conglomerate and the most well-known and efficient Russian private army. In Ukraine War, which has not gone as per the plans for Russia, Wagner Group personnel have brought some of the most significant victories for Russia, including in the most intensive grinding battle of attrition at Bakhmut. 

Putin wants to draw a sharp distinction between Wagner fighters, whose experience and expertise he can exploit, and the mercenary leader he now sees as reckless and untrustworthy, said Tatiana Stanovaya, a non-resident scholar at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace to The New York Times.


She further said, “They want to preserve the core of Wagner but under different leadership, one that is clearly much more loyal, and even controllable."

The Wagner Group personnel revolted last month and reached within 200 kms of Moscow unopposed after capturing two key cities and the Russian military headquarters overseeing the Ukraine War. He said his revolt was not against Putin but it was "march to justice" against the Russian defence leadership of Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu and Russian Chief of General Staff General Valery Gerasimov. 

Since Wagner is such an experienced fighting force, with experience of fighting in Syria and Ukraine, it has been said that Putin wants to keep the force alive, but under a different leader who can be more amenable to his interests.