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Russia. Dmitry Utkin, “Wagner”, Yevgeny Prigozhin’s closest associate, buried in the national pantheon near Moscow

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Dmitry Utkin, nicknamed “Wagner”, Yevgeny Prigozhin’s closest associate, was buried with military honors in the national pantheon near Moscow on Thursday. Utkin, like Prigozhin, was on the passenger list of the plane that crashed in the Tver Oblast on August 23.

The Russian private mercenary army the Wagner Group, managed by Yevgeny Prigozhin, took its name from the pseudonym of Dmitry “Wagner” Utkin, who was a lover of Richard Wagner’s music.

Prigozhin and Utkin, according to Russian media, were on board the Embraer plane that crashed on August 23 in the Tver region. “Wagner” was buried at the Federal Military Cemetery in Mytišchi, four kilometers northeast of Moscow.

“Wagner” among the victims of a plane crash in Russia. Who was Dmitry Utkin, Prigozhin’s “right hand”.

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Dmitry Utkin’s grave in the national pantheon near MoscowPAP/EPA/MAXIM SHIPENKOV

“Wagner” buried with military honours

Born in 1970, Utkin served in the GRU spetsnaz (special units of Russian military intelligence), took part in the Chechen wars, was the commander of a spetsnaz unit, and achieved the rank of lieutenant colonel. After switching to retirement participated, among others in the occupation of Ukrainian Crimea, the establishment of Russian power in the separatist Luhansk People’s Republic in the east Ukraine and in the battles of Syria.

He was a knight of the Hero of the Russian Federation order – the highest state decoration in the world Russia. He died on August 23 in a plane crash in the Tver Oblast, in which Prigozhin, as well as all other passengers and crew members, also died.

Utkin was buried with military honors, including the assistance of a military band. At the family’s request, the ceremony took place only in the presence of relatives and close friends.

Dmitry Utkin 16

The BBC noted that Prigozhin – also a Hero of the Russian Federation – was buried without any honors in a regular cemetery in St. Petersburg. As the Russian media quoted by the BBC emphasized, bachelors of this distinction deserve a burial with honors.

The necropolis in Mytishchy, opened in 2013, modeled on the Arlington National Cemetery near Washington, is a national pantheon where outstanding state and military officials, war veterans, as well as heroes of the Soviet Union and the Russian Federation are buried. The first person buried there was Mikhail Kalashnikov, the creator of the legendary AK-47 automatic rifle. Since the beginning of the cemetery’s existence, many people have been buried there, including: victims of the 2016 plane crash in Sochi, in which 64 members of the Alexandrov Choir died.

Main photo source: PAP/EPA/MAXIM SHIPENKOV

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