Yevgeny Prigozhin’s Rebellion Has Petered Out

The Wagner Uprising: 24 Hours That Shook Russia

Driven by his feud with the defence minister, Yevgeny Prigozhin’s rebellion has petered out.

Last Thursday Yevgeny Prigozhin let rip on his favourite subject: the incompetence and vanity of Russia’s defence minister, Sergei Shoigu. Seated in front of a Wagner flag and sipping from a mug of tea, he called his bitter enemy a scumbag. Shoigu was a craven PR man and oligarch who had never held a weapon in his life, he raged.

Yevgeny Prigozhin’s Rebellion Has Petered Out
The Wagner Uprising

The defence ministry had duped Vladimir Putin into last year’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine, Prigozhin added. The decision had nothing to do with “denazification” or “demilitarisation”, or an imminent Nato attack on Russia – the official reasons for the war. It was all about Shoigu’s wish for a second “hero of Russia” medal, he claimed.

So far, so normal. Prigozhin’s online rants against Russia’s military leaders had been going on for months. He had previously accused Shoigu and commander-in-chief Valery Gerasimov of depriving his Wagner troops of ammunition, of sacrificing Russian soldiers in disastrous missions and of seizing eastern Ukraine in order to plunder it.

The feud escalated dramatically on 10 June, when Shoigu announced that Wagner soldiers would have to sign contracts with his ministry. In effect, Wagner would cease to exist. Putin seemingly endorsed the proposal. Prigozhin, once Putin’s trusted ally, was at a personal crossroads. He might accept the Kremlin’s decision. Or he could fight back.

The answer came on Friday evening when he posted another provocative video on his Telegram channel. It showed the apparent aftermath of a missile strike on a leafy Wagner camp. The location was somewhere in occupied Donbas. A breathless soldier jogged past shredded trees and what looked like a body. 

Prigozhin claimed Russia’s defence ministry had carried out the attack, causing “many victims”. “According to eyewitnesses, the blow was struck from the rear,” he wrote. The video looked staged. Nonetheless he now had a rationale for launching the next part of an extraordinary and daring plan. Wagner was about to invade Russia.

Source: The Guardian News


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