Who was Yevgeny Prigozhin? Oligarch, Mercenary leader, and former close confidant of Russian president Vladimir Putin
By: Iain Fraser – Associate Publisher GEÓ
Geopolitical Intelligence Network
Who was Yevgeny Prigozhin? We examine his legacy and the future of his once feared Wagner Group after he was unceremoniously eliminated on the orders of diminutive despot Vladimir Putin.
But, just who was Yevgeny Prigozhin? 1 June 1961 – 23 August 2023
Here I have examined his legacy and the future of the once feared Wagner Group after he was eliminated on the orders of diminutive Despot Vladimir Putin however before I address the future I need to highlight the past.
When I wrote the KPI “Who is Yevgeny Prigozhin” on 17th July 2023 I described him as a maverick mercenary leader of the once acclaimed Wagner Group a band of die-hard privateers who would work for the highest bidder, and for years that has been Russian President Vladimir Putin; but first, you need to understand this “unholy” alliance, you need to delve deeper into the murky waters where Wagner Group types swim.
We became aware of the Wagner Group when we received intel reporting on the emergence of a new mercenary outfit called the Wagner Group that had supplied tactical support to the Russian armed forces during the 2014 illegal annexation of Crimea, now a key area in Ukraine´s fight back again Putin´s “Special Operation”.
Details about the private military group were to sketchy to say the least and the identities of the ultimate/beneficial ownership was virtually impossible to trace. Since then together with Geopolitical Risk Investigators ArgusGPI.com we have monitored the militia group. One of the key facts we found out was that despite mercenary groups being technically illegal in Russia, Wagner Group was duly registered as a PMC or Private Military Company.
We had an exclusive breakthrough in February 2020 when a highly trusted source relayed data to us, which once verified by our experts deploying SCARAB, confirmed beyond doubt that the shadowy Wagner Group was operated by two individuals – Dmitry Utkin and the now infamous Yevgeny Prigozhin. Now we knew who the puppet masters were we could try a build a picture of the PMC. The main stream press went on to confirm the Wagner bosses after the aborted insurrection earlier this year.
Fast forward to when it all started to go wrong for the militia leader and of course how Prigozhin sealed his fate – He led a mutiny against Putin himself. It was the greatest challenge to the Russian Presidents “leadership” in his more than two decades in power when under the direct order of Prigozhin, crack mercenary troops from Wagner marched on Moscow literally biting the hand that fed it. Huge mistake – Putin does not forgive and forget disloyalty!
At the time there were rumblings from the intelligence community that I was privy to at the time that this was a false flag operation with political undertones- Yevgeny wanted Vladimir’s job and “status”
There was even talk of a $100m bonus to smooth the path, with Langley mooted as the paymasters. I don’t believe in coincidence however exactly $100 million was found when Russian special forces raided Prigozhin´s St Petersburg mansion. While this would have been a mere bagatelle to the private soldier who extracted billions out of Putin’s coffers.
Prigozhin began his march toward Moscow on June 23, 2023 after accusing the Russian Defense Ministry of launching rocket attacks on the rear camps of his forces in Ukraine using artillery and attack helicopters that allegedly killed many of his men.
By the next morning, the group’s forces had taken control of the defence ministry’s headquarters in Rostov-on-Don, a city of a million people and a main staging ground for Russia’s all-out invasion of Ukraine. Wagner troops were largely unopposed and went on to down six helicopters and an Ilyushin IL 22M plane, killing at least thirteen people.
The “mutiny” was ultimately the result of months of recrimination from Prigozhin toward Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu and Chief of the General Staff Valery Gerasimov repeatedly accusing them of intentionally holding back ammunition to his mercenary troops who were fighting one of the wars bloodiest battles in Bakhmut.
As soon as Putin was aware of the mutiny he took to Russian TV to denounce the Wagner hierarchy as well as its troops, accusing them of treason and vowed to punish everyone involved in the “armed rebellion”. The Russian leader said, “I repeat, any internal turmoil is a deadly threat to our statehood, to us as a nation.” “We will protect both our people and our statehood from any threats. Including — from internal betrayal” “And what we are faced with is precisely a betrayal. Exorbitant ambitions and personal interests led to treason.”
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