The Russian president tries to portray Yevgeny Prigozhin as a corrupt liar after last weekend’s uprising.
Vladimir Putin tries to destroy the reputation of the head of the Wagner Group, says the Institute for the Study of War (ISW for its acronym in English).
The think tank or think tank based in the United States, commented on Tuesday that the Russian president was trying to present Yevgueni Prigozhin as corrupt and a liar to undermine the support he has among the mercenaries of his armed formation and Russian society. .
Putin’s long-awaited purge
Prigozhin started a mutiny last Saturday with twenty-five thousand of his men marching on Moscow.
The rebellion was stopped thanks to a secret agreement, which saw Prigozhin go into exile in Belarus with an amnesty. But what happened seriously worries Putin: his authority has been questioned. Some analysts maintain that he will now purge any critics or wavering voices within the regime..
“Putin has probably decided that cannot eliminate Prigozhin outright without making him a martyr right now,” the ISW commented in its daily report.
“Prigozhin still has support within Russian society and the country’s regular forces. The Kremlin will need to ensure that these groups end up disillusioned with him so that he loses popular support in Russia.”
The reviews that have made it popular
The paramilitary chief, once an ally of Putin, has gained much notoriety criticizing the invasion of Ukraine.
He has openly contradicted key aspects of the official narrative that the Nazis ruled Ukraine, as well as harshly criticized the military leadership for the way it carried out the campaign in the neighboring country. Something that has led many others to prison.
“Prigozhin has accused the Defense Minister of mistreating Russian military personnel in combat“. A message that surely attracted many soldiers and their families, disappointed with the mobilization, the casualties, the shortage of supplies and the great loss of life with little to teach in return,” analyzes the ISW.
“The Kremlin needs to separate Prigozhin’s cause from his personso that an attack against him is not perceived as an aggression by the Kremlin against his popular narrative and the objective of his statements to punish the criminal incompetence of the management of the Russian Defense Minister,” continues the American analysis center.
“The Kremlin will probably continue to attack his personality to break popular support, discourage Wagner’s staff from following him to Belarus and destroy his economic power.”
Prigozhin before Ukraine
Even before his mercenary army was deployed in some of the fiercest battles in Ukraine, PRigozhin ran a troll farm that interfered in the US electionputting him in trouble with the FBI, and also used his private militia for shady deals in Africa.
This made win to Putin’s former chef political and economic power.
On Tuesday, the Russian president claimed that the Wagner Group’s parent company was not independent of the Kremlin, in an attempt to discredit it, the ISW suggests.
He has publicly said for the first time that the Kremlin fully funds Wagner.
This statement was contested by analysts in the past.
In April, Mark Beissinger, a professor of politics at Princeton University, told Euronews that Prigozhin was “useful to Putin” because his armed group could serve him independently of the state.
Wagner’s mercenaries have been accused of grossly violating human rights in different parts of the world, which is why some governments would want to get their hands on it.
Possible confiscation of your assets
Without mentioning him by name, Putin added that Prigozhin’s Concord company had received eighty billion rubles, about 854 million dollarsbetween May 2022 and May 2023 for the preparation and distribution of food for the Russian army.
He has announced that they will investigate whether the company stole anything during his work.
“Putin’s hint that they will investigate the company could be a preparation for justify the confiscation of Prigozhin’s assets by accusations of corruptionaccording to the ISW.
Prigozhin has built his personal brand criticizing his country’s military command and bureaucrats for their corruption and ties to Western countries, and Putin is likely to try to undermine Prigozhin’s populist appeal by accusing him of the same sins.”
The Kremlin has launched a campaign to pardon Wagner’s fighters for their part in the mutiny, offering them contracts with the Defense Ministry.