The Russian leadership believes that there is a threat of a new military rebellion after the liquidation of the head of the Wagner Group, Yevgeny Prigozhin. This was written by the Moscow Times news site, citing three unnamed sources – two people close to the Kremlin and a government official who previously served in law enforcement agencies.
According to these sources, the security services are already working to prevent a similar action by militants, which was undertaken by Prigozhin in late June, when he marched on Moscow with his mercenaries.
Although the founder of a private army died last week along with some commanders on board the plane, the Kremlin nevertheless believes that the Wagnerites, who still have numerous units, have experience of fighting in Ukraine, Africa or Syria, and also his own social media empire, danger lies ahead.
“Many members of Wagner believe that the authorities may be behind[Prigozhin’s]death. And the authorities cannot ignore such risks,” said Oleg Ignatov, an analyst with the International Crisis Group.
The Moscow Times recalled that two days after Prigozhin’s death, President Vladimir Putin signed a decree obliging the Wagnerites to take an oath of allegiance. All members of non-state military militias, including volunteer battalions and territorial defense, are required to take an oath in front of the national flag and promise to uphold the “constitutional order”.
“Putin wants to keep the Wagnerites under tighter control to make sure he doesn’t face another crisis in the future,” said Natia Sescuria of the Royal United Services Institute in London. According to her, among Prigozhin’s supporters, most likely, there will be those who will not take the oath. “This could create problems for Putin in the long run,” she added.
Remember how Prigozhin fought for Moscow
Yevgeny Prigozhin with his mercenaries went to Moscow at the end of June and demanded that Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu and Chief of the General Staff of the Russian Army Valery Gerasimov leave their posts. At that time, the 5:59 podcast analyzed the situation with Ondřej Soukup, an expert on Russia and Ukraine and a commentator on the foreign edition of Czech Radio. Remind yourself in the article.
According to political scientist Abbas Galdzhamov, Putin considers the threat of a new rebellion or conspiracy quite real. This is evidenced even by the liquidation of Prigozhin, carried out even at the cost of disrupting a number of “projects”. “It seems that Putin’s priority is to maintain power, not external expansion,” Gallyamov said.
“Putin’s problem is that his image has faded. He stopped responding to Russia’s need for a strong and decisive leader who would achieve goals quickly, with minimal cost and sacrifice. This happened after the failure of the operation to occupy Ukraine and the transition of the war into a protracted phase,” said Ignatov from the International Crisis Group.
“It was obvious that Putin was losing to such charismatic figures as Prigozhin, who are ready to tell the truth and accept things as they are,” the expert added to the Moscow Times newspaper.