Wagner warlord Vevgeny Prigozhin has claimed to have been made aware of a plot led by Vladimir Putin to undermine and “neutralize” the feared Russian mercenary group.
Prigozhin claimed to have received a series of questions from the Russian newspaper Nezivisimaya Gazeta that apparently exposed the plot to “neutralize” Wagner and the warlord in particular.
Nikolai Patrushev, the head of Russia’s Security Council, allegedly told Putin that he believes that after the war in Ukraine, Prigozhin will try to unite his mercenaries and send them to Russia to “seize power” in the regions bordering Ukraine , before possibly moving inland. .
Patrushev is said to have said at the meeting that he has already ordered Russian troops to observe Wagner mercenaries and monitor their movement for fear they may revolt against Putin. A paranoid Putin would have thanked Patrushev for his efforts to neutralize “Wagner in general and Prigozhin in particular.”
However, experts from the Institute for the Study of War (ISW) have cast doubt on Prigozhin’s claims that he received media inquiries exposing the plot, saying there is no evidence that talks between Putin and Patrushev took place.
Instead, the experts argue that Prigozhin concocted the alleged plot in a bizarre attempt to defame the Russian military establishment and “create careful information conditions to blame Patrushev for Wagner’s failures and possible crackdown on the group.”
Wagner warlord Vevgeny Prigozhin (pictured with Putin) has claimed he was made aware of a plot led by Vladimir Putin to undermine and ‘neutralize’ the feared Russian group of mercenaries
Ukrainian soldiers from the 80th Brigade’s paratroopers fire a mortar shell at a frontline near Bakhmut on Thursday, amid the Russian assault on Ukraine, in Ukraine’s Donetsk region.
Since the start of Putin’s war in Ukraine, Prigozhin has publicly criticized the Russian army and military leadership – and his penchant for berating army leaders and anyone who stands in his way has angered some in the government who want to keep under control.
Now dark allegations have emerged that Putin is conspiring to “neutralize” Wagner and Prigozhin – or so the warlord would like it to appear.
Prigozhin’s press office yesterday published a series of questions allegedly sent to the Wagner chief by the newspaper Nezivisimaya Gazeta about an apparent meeting between Putin and Patrushev – the details of which apparently circulated on Telegram.
The alleged press commentary claims that Patrushev told Putin that there is “nothing left” of the Wagner group in “one and a half to two months” because of the massive casualties in the Ukrainian city of Bakhmut, where the mercenaries are fighting Ukrainian forces. .
Patrushev is also reported to have suggested that after Wagner’s destruction in Ukraine, Prigozhin “will try to unite the former and remaining active Wagner fighters under a far-fetched pretext and using the means at his disposal, he will organize, arm and send them to the territory of Ukraine. Russia to seize power in the regions bordering Ukraine was a possible push inland.”
In response to the alleged press comment, Prigozhin posted an audio clip saying he had not heard of the alleged plot, saying that Russian special services should work to neutralize threats to Russia, no matter where they come from.
However, ISW experts said there is no evidence that talks between Putin and Patrushev took place.
They also pointed out that Nezivisimaya Gazeta did not publish the press commentary on its own site – and there is no record of the commentary online, except in reference to Prigozhin’s post.
“The lack of external confirmation on this subject suggests that Prigozhin concocted the alleged plot to further various intelligence operations on behalf of Wagner and his own reputation,” the experts said in their latest report.
Ukrainian soldiers from the 80th Brigade paratroopers take cover as they fire a mortar shell at a frontline near Bakhmut, amid the Russian assault on Ukraine, in Ukraine’s Donetsk region, on Thursday.
Nikolai Patrushev (pictured), the head of Russia’s Security Council, is said to have told Putin that he believes that after the war in Ukraine, Prigozhin will try to unite his mercenaries and send them to Russia to “seize power” in the regions that bordering Ukraine before possibly advancing inland
Wagner mercenaries in Popasna, Sievierodonetsk district of Luhansk Oblast, Ukraine
The ISW experts said the exchange “clearly identifies” Patrushev and possibly the Russian Security Council as “enemies” of Wagner.
“Prigozhin appears to be setting careful information conditions to blame Patrushev for Wagner’s failures and possible repression against the group, as well as introducing a fabricated scenario in which Wagner poses a direct threat to Russia domestically,” the experts said.
“This effort appears to be the next evolution of Prigozhin’s campaign against the Russian military establishment, and Patrushev could become Prigozhin’s next target following his joint intelligence campaigns against the Russian Defense Ministry and General Staff,” they added.
Prigozhin has become something of a headache for Putin and Russia’s defense chiefs since the start of the war.
He has stepped out of the shadows to take on a high profile since the Russian invasion of Ukraine. But his public profile, his political clout, and his penchant for swearing at army tops and anyone who gets in his way have angered some in the government who want to keep him in check.
Indeed, Prigozhin has continued to ask Russia to provide him with more ammunition, reinforcements and cover if he wins the months-long war of attrition over Bakhmut.
In January, ISW experts claimed that Putin turned on Prigozhin after he “didn’t get the hint” and continued to boast that his forces were achieving more success than the Russian military.
And the Wagner chief has risked further angering the Russian president by denouncing the Moscow generals as “a bunch of clowns.”
Prigozhin is increasingly seen as an increasing threat to the Kremlin leader with his day-to-day grandeur and frank boasting.
In January, he claimed his ragbag fighters had performed greater feats than the Soviet soldiers in the Battle of Stalingrad, a major military turning point in World War II.
He has also openly mocked General Valery Gerasimov – the Russian commander-in-chief – who ordered the Russian soldiers to shave their beards as part of a disciplinary action in the armed forces.
Russia’s defense chiefs were “a bunch of clowns” looking to “glamorise the military,” raged Prigozhin, a Soviet-era prisoner who became famous for hosting banquets and running online troll factories for Putin.
“Women war correspondents go into the absolute heat of (war),” Prigozhin said.
Prisoners fight better than guard units. Soldiers with a broken spine pass on their military experience in training camps and move around like robots.
“And a bunch of clowns try to teach combatants, exhausted from heavy military work, how often to shave—and what kind of perfume to use to greet commanders-in-chief.”