On August 23, aboard his own plane in the Tver region of Russia, the leader of the Wagner private military company, Yevgeny Prigozhin, along with his closest associates, died. He was an extraordinary figure, a «Hero of Russia,» and also affiliated with the LPR and DPR, a comrade and friend of Putin. As Putin expressed his condolences for the deceased, he stated that Prigozhin was «a man of complex fate» who «made mistakes.» In truth, who doesn’t make mistakes? It’s just that the scale of mistakes varies, and some get away with them while others pay a steep price, informs 24brussels.
Reflecting on the events of the past two months, it’s clear that they developed dynamically. However, this followed a fairly extended period of discontent from «Wagner» directed towards the leadership of the Russian Armed Forces, with various public statements and actions. This was likely Prigozhin’s first mistake in the Special Volunteer Corps (SVO), more specifically, during the war Russia ignited in Ukraine. It’s worth noting that in this war, private military companies like «Wagner» were used alongside regular Russian forces, often replacing them and sometimes on a larger scale, proving to be more active and, it must be admitted, more effective.
We won’t judge the ultimate goal Prigozhin had in mind when starting the «Moscow campaign,» but the «Wagnerites,» not bound by allegiance to the state but armed to the teeth, advanced from Rostov-on-Don to Moscow, almost reaching it, under the guise of noble slogans about saving Russia.
These events were a serious shock to the Kremlin leadership, vividly demonstrating to Russian society just how unprepared both the government and the security structures were to counter such actions. Wagner’s columns practically moved towards Moscow unhindered, even destroying Russian Aerospace Forces aircraft. In Russia, Europe, and the world, everyone held their breath, expecting a radical overthrow of the Kremlin leadership. However, the miracle did not happen…
But miraculously, the leader of the rebellion was reprimanded, removed from military affairs in Russia, and redirected to Africa, where «Wagner» traditionally operated. The Wagner participants in the rebellion were even amnestied and redistributed. Priogozhin was even given the opportunity to obtain new contracts for his catering business. Just a week ago, it seemed like the issue was closed and forgotten.
But it’s not that simple. According to the testimonies of separate sources, betrayal is the gravest sin for Putin. It’s evident that Putin couldn’t forgive the rebellion on June 23 and the open criticism of the country’s leadership by Priogozhin. In his revenge, he showed patience and cold-bloodedness in a Jesuitic manner. An airplane crash! All very modern and undoubtedly so! Why bother with different poisonings or car accidents?! Because they might not work…
The elimination of Priogozhin is far from the first and probably not the last example of Putin’s regime purging its political opponents. In the struggle for his own survival, Putin is cleaning up the country’s political landscape, even at the cost of colossal reputational losses, effectively weakening himself. In the case of Priogozhin, it becomes evident that a significant part of Russian society sympathizes much more with him than with Putin. Spontaneous memorials in memory of Priogozhin are active all over Russia, and they are not empty. The commission investigating the disaster has officially established the fact of Priogozhin’s death. Here, the question of the organization and conduct of his funeral can be a very interesting indicator. It’s a serious question because he was not an ordinary person, as mentioned earlier, he was a «Hero of Russia.»
However, despite official statements, many different sources claim that Priogozhin is alive… By the way, there were several doubles of him on board the plane. You could even agree with this, but at the same time, you can confidently say that the «political funeral» in the Kremlin took place, even if Priogozhin miraculously «resurrects.»
The fate of Priogozhin is an additional reminder that there are no legal norms in Russia itself, and international agreements with the Kremlin and its obligations are invalid. However, this is far from new. Everyone knows the price of the paper on which an agreement with Russia is signed.