Wagner boss Prigozhin killed in jet ‘crash’ in Russia

Wagner boss Prigozhin killed in jet ‘crash’ in Russia

Brian Klaas writes:

Initial reports suggest that Yevgeny Prigozhin, the ruthless mercenary leader of the Wagner Group, has been killed. Although confirmed details are scant, his private plane has allegedly crashed or been shot down, an event that many have interpreted as an assassination. Prigozhin probably knew to stay away from windows in high buildings, so it seems plausible that Vladimir Putin took him out at 28,000 feet instead.

Coup plotters rarely die of old age. Prigozhin sealed his fate in June when he launched a failed mutiny against Putin, which fizzled hours after it began. No dictator can afford to tolerate that kind of disloyalty: Every moment that Prigozhin lived made Putin look weaker, a dictator seemingly forced to accommodate a man who had directly challenged him, simply because Russia needed the Wagner Group for its disastrous war of attrition in Ukraine.

Putin likely knew that letting Prigozhin live risked emboldening enemies within to mount additional threats. In an interview earlier this year, Putin said that leaders must be able to forgive, but that not everything can be forgiven. When the interviewer asked him “What can’t be forgiven?,” Putin’s answer was immediate: “Betrayal.” [Continue reading…]

Politico reports:

Putin himself appeared cheery on Wednesday evening after Russian media suggested Prigozhin was dead, opening remarks at an event commemorating the Battle of Kursk in World War II with a broad smile. “Devotion to the homeland and loyalty to the military oath is what unites all participants of the special military operation,” he said in his speech, referring to Russia’s war in Ukraine.

Wagner Orchestra, a Telegram channel, posted a photo of what appeared to be the burning wreckage of a plane, saying the Embraer jet had been shot down by Russian air defenses. Russia’s investigative committee says a probe into the crash in under way. [Continue reading…]

Comments are closed.