NewsA week later, details of the Wagner rebellion in Russia remain shrouded...

    A week later, details of the Wagner rebellion in Russia remain shrouded in mystery

    A week after an armed rebellion rocked Russia, key details of the mutiny it sparked remain shrouded in mystery. the biggest challenge to the government of President Vladimir Putin in more than two decades

    In the armed rebellion that recently rocked Russia, did mercenary boss Yevgeny Prigozhin have inside help from the military and political elite?

    The revolt that lasted 24 hours, between last Friday and Saturday, meant the biggest challenge to the government of President Putin in more than 23 years in power. And many questions remain open.

    Uncertainty also revolves around the fate of Prigozhin and their private military forces from the Wagner Group, along with the deal they got from the Kremlin and what the future holds for the Russian Defense Minister, whom they tried to oust.

    Finally, and perhs the biggest question mark: Will Putin be able to shore up the weaknesses revealed by the events of the past weekend?

    Militiamen from the Wagner paramilitary group, last Saturday in the Russian city of Rostov-del-Don. Photo: AP

    Yevgeny Prigozhin had inside help?

    Many observers argue that Prigozhin would not have been able to seize the military installations in the southern city of Rostov-on-Don so easily on June 24 and mount his swift march on Moscow without the consent of some members of the military leadership.

    Thousands of members of his private army traveled almost 1,000 kilometers across Russia without meeting significant resistance and shot down at least seven military aircraft, killing at least 10 pilots.

    Prigozhin said that they proached 200 kilometers from Moscow when he ordered his troops to return, as part of an agreement brokered by Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko. That deal granted him and the forces of his private contractor Grupo Wagner amnesty, allowing them to move to Belarus.

    Some Kremlin observers believe that several senior military officials may have backed his bid to remove Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu, and the Chief of the General Staff of the Armed Forces, General Valery Gerasimov. Or they just decided to wait and see what hpened.

    “Wagner’s mercenary chief counted on the solidarity of senior army officers, and since he came close to reaching Moscow without meeting any particular resistance, he may not have been entirely wrong,” analyst Mikhail Komin wrote in a commentary for the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace.

    The leader of Wagner's mercenaries, Yevgeny Prigozhin.  Photo: AP

    The leader of Wagner’s mercenaries, Yevgeny Prigozhin. Photo: AP

    “It is quite possible that at the beginning of his ‘march for justice’, Prigozhin believed that he would find solidarity among many officers in the armed forces, and that, if his uprising was successful, they would be joined by certain groups within the ruling elite.” he added.

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    Russian law enforcement might share this belief. Some military bloggers reported that investigators they were looking at whether any officers had sided with Prigozhin.

    A high-ranking military officer, General Sergei Surovikin – who had long-standing ties to Prigozhin – is believed to have been detained, they told Associated Press two people familiar with the matter, citing US and Ukrainian intelligence assessments. It is not clear if Surovikin is facing charges or where he is being held.

    Russian military bloggers reported that some border guards were accused of failing to resist the Wagner Group convoy as it crossed into Russia from Ukraine, and some pilots also face possible charges for refusing to stop the convoy’s movement towards Moscow.

    However, there was no official confirmation of those claims and it was impossible to verify them.

    Pointing to the lack of a stronger military response to the mutiny, some have cited the chaotic and uncertain situation and the Kremlin’s doubts about the use of force in populated areas.

    Mark Galeotti, a London-based expert on Russian security affairs, warns that the Russian system of government is “hierarchical and slow” and does not encourage initiative.

    “In that context, people would simply not be willing to act without direct orders, either because they feared they would be left in a difficult situation if they guessed wrong, or because they actually had some sympathy for Prigozhin,” he adds.


    Sympathetic Kremlin analyst Sergei Markov believes some members of the Russian military may have been reluctant to confront Prigozhin initially, but their attitude hardened after Wagner Group forces shot down several military helicopters.

    a shady deal

    Another mystery is the agreement that ended the riot. Russia’s main intelligence agency opened an investigation against Prigozhin over the rebellion, but the case was later dropped as part of that deal. Putin, Prigozhin and Lukashenko described it as an arrangement aimed at avoiding bloodshed, but few details have been released.

    Also the future of Prigozhin and the Wagner Group is uncertain. Putin said mercenaries who did not take part in the mutiny may sign contracts with the Defense Ministry, retire or move to Belarus, but it is unknown how many will join him and whether they will remain a single force.

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    Prigozhin may not feel completely safe with Lukashenko, known for his tough rule and dependent on Putin for political and financial support. The exact whereabouts of the mercenary leader are unknown.. Lukashenko maintains that he is in Belarus and Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov refuses to say where he is.

    Lukashenko can be expected to keep a tight rein on Prigozhin’s troops.

    “I suspect that the way Moscow expects this to play out is that the commanders will move to Belarus and then possibly withdraw to conduct operations in Africa,” says Michael Kofman, an expert at the Center for Naval Analyzes. .

    Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko and Russian President Vladimir Putin on June 9 in the Russian city of Sochi.  Photo: AP

    Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko and Russian President Vladimir Putin on June 9 in the Russian city of Sochi. Photo: AP

    “In the meantime, they will try to recover the heavy equipment from the Wagner Group and then figure out how to use the non-leader members who decide to stay,” he adds.

    Others believe that the Kremlin will not allow Prigozhin to operate independently abroad as he did before. Reports from Syria this week indicated that troops from the Wagner Group were told to report to the main Russian military base in the country.

    Millions of dollars for the Wagner group

    Although Russia has closed its criminal investigation into the riot, Putin said authorities will look for any irregularities in the Wagner Group’s books. That could set the stage for Possible financial crime charges.

    In a startling revelation, Putin declared that the government invested billions of dollars in the Wagner Groupa statement that followed his earlier denials of any link between the Russian state and the mercenary group.

    “It turns out that Vladimir Putin actually paid for the riot with taxpayer money,” analyst Andrei Kolesnikov wrote.

    What will hpen to the Russian Defense Minister?

    While Prigozhin’s stated goal was the removal of top military leaders, including the Defense Minister, some believe that Shoigu could come out stronger of the crisis.

    “Interestingly, the main beneficiary seems to be Shoigu: with Prigozhin and Wagner (the Group) out of the picture, Putin is now immune against a similar mutiny and any kind of experimentation with private military companies,” comments analyst Tatiana Stanovaya.

    Shoigu could use the confrontation to get rid of any signs of dissent among the higher-ups, he adds.

    But the Carnegie Endowment’s Komin said the Prigozhin mutiny “revealed the scale of the crisis within the Russian military, which is disillusioned by constant failures and war-weary, and within military and security elites.” .

    The men of the fearsome Wagner group, on Saturday June 24 in the Russian city of Rostov-del-Don.  Photo: AP

    The men of the fearsome Wagner group, on Saturday June 24 in the Russian city of Rostov-del-Don. Photo: AP

    That could make more similar tests possible on authority.

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    “When senior and mid-ranking officers do respond to an armed mutiny with a ‘snail’s pace’ attack, there is little doubt that the head of (Group) Wagner will not be the last challenger to face Shoigu and his allies and that seeks to citalize on the unspoken but growing resentment within the Russian military,” adds Komin.

    There is also a debate about the future of military contractors in Russia.

    Vladislav Surkov, Putin’s former senior adviser, argues forcefully that these contractors represent a major threat to the integrity of Russiaand said private armies like the Wagner Group could turn Russia into a “Eurasian tribal zone.”

    Will Vladimir Putin be able to recover from this blow?

    Although the quick deal with Prigozhin prevented a battle for Moscow that could have plunged the entire country into chaos, the crisis revealed shocking weaknesses in the Putin government.

    After a faltering response to the rebellion, Putin tried to repair the damage to his reputation with a series of events intended to project strength and authority. State television underscored the message that a quick end to the rebellion would further strengthen Putin.

    The president spoke with army troops and law enforcement officers at a ceremony in the Kremlin that mimicked the pageantry-laden military rites of the Russian Empire.

    On Wednesday he also traveled to the city of Derbent, in the majority Muslim region of Dagestan, to attend the Islamic holiday of Eid al-Adha.

    He walked through cheering crowds, talking to people and shaking hands. He even posed for a photo: extremely weird behavior for a quiet and reserved leader who was notoriously wary of social contact during the Covid-19 pandemic.

    In an parent attempt to turn the page on the rebellion, Putin focused on issues such as the development of the tourism industry in Derbent or technological innovations.

    But despite such attempts and damage control efforts by the state propaganda machine, Putin’s weakness and vulnerability have become parent.

    “This riot was so shocking that it seemed to many that the regime was on the verge of collse, which significantly undermines Putin’s ability to secure control in the eyes of the political class,” Stanovaya warns.

    Source: AP

    look too

    Source: Clarin

    This post is posted by Awutar staff members. Awutar is a global multimedia website. Our Email: [email protected]


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