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From entrepreneur to owner of a private army. Such was the “career” of Prigozhin

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Prigozhin was Putin’s friend, because this is the only way to become powerful in Russia. Putin’s cook has created a mercenary army, the Kremlin’s ruthless executive arm. He betrayed the Russian president when he moved with his troops to Moscow.

Yevgeny Prigozhin and Vladimir Putin met in St. Petersburg, where Prigozhin ran exclusive establishments that Putin willingly visited. This acquaintance turned into a strategic cooperation, and Prigozhin turned from an entrepreneur into the head of a private army – mainly in the service of Putin. In 2014, he co-founded the Wagner Group, consisting of former soldiers, but also criminals. A private militant organization with ties to the Russian military. Putin sent them where he officially could not or did not want to get involved.

For the first time, the Wagnerians led by Prigozhin made themselves felt during the war in Donbass, where they supported pro-Russian separatists. They were also involved in other parts of the world – in the Middle East and Africa. Not only militarily. – Probably on the instructions of Moscow, he created a huge troll factory near St. Petersburg, numbering one and a half thousand people, then expanding, where there were excellent salaries and this troll factory had an incredible impact on the elections in the United States – says Krystyna Kurczab-Redlich, journalist, reporter, long-time correspondent in Russia.

Russian media reports that Yevgeny Prigozhin is dead. He had previously challenged the KremlinAndrzej Zaucha/Fakty TVN

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Exceptional brutality

The Wagner Group is famous for its brutality. The United States recognized it as a terrorist organization and placed it under sanctions. – We hear repeated voices that the Wagner Group threatens stability. It undermines legitimate governments, robs countries of natural resources, and violates human rights. We keep getting similar reports,” said Antony Blinken, US Secretary of State. When Russia launched a full-blown war in Ukraine in February 2022, Prigozhin also joined the invasion. He published recordings from the front and recruited young Russians – including convicts. – Subscribe to the Wagner Group. Yesterday you were just boys, and today you are defending your country. You defend justice. The Third World War is approaching, Prigozhin appealed.

Parafianowicz: By acting against Putin, Prigozhin unsealed the system of power.  With each passing day he lived, he weakened that system

Parafianowicz: By acting against Putin, Prigozhin unsealed the system of power. With each passing day he lived, he weakened that systemTVN24

Fighting in Ukraine

The Wagnerians took part in months-long battles for Bachmut. But in May, when ammunition became scarce, Prigozhin announced that he was withdrawing from the battlefield. He complained about the lack of support from Moscow and tactical errors. He was in conflict with the Russian generals – especially with the Minister of Defense, Sergei Shoigu. We’re 70 percent short of ammunition. Shoigu, Gerasimov, where the f*ck is the ammunition? If you provide us with normal amounts of ammunition, we’ll have five times fewer kills. They’re all volunteers. They are dying here so that you can frolic in your offices,’ Prigozhin alarmed. “Cooperation between the generals of the army and Prigozhin is absolutely impossible, they hate him and will seek to eliminate him,” Mikhail Kasyanov, the former Russian prime minister, said in June.

Kurchab-Redlich: Putin realized quite quickly that Prigozhin's entire action was not directed against him

Kurchab-Redlich: Putin realized quite quickly that Prigozhin’s entire action was not directed against himTVN24

March on Moscow

On the night of June 23/24, the Wagnerians took control of Rostov-on-Don. Prigozhin demanded Shoigu’s resignation and announced a march on Moscow. We will not allow a repeat of the civil war. We will defend our people and our country against any threat. Including betrayal. What we are dealing with now is treason. Sick ambitions and personal interests led to it, Putin noted on June 24. However, in the evening Prigozhin withdrew and turned back. He left for Belarus, and the conflict subsided. According to analysts, after the mutiny, the Kremlin needed these two months to assess Prigozhin’s motives, assess his support among the mercenaries and take control of the Wagner Group.

The Wagner Group revolt hour by hour. This is how Prigozhin challenged Putin. He finally laid down his weapon

Facts about the world TVN24 BiS

Main photo source: Reuters

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